Carlos Carrasco was dealing against the Oakland Athletics on Monday night – 8 IP, 4 hits, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
As Monday night’s game was unfolding, you could tell that the team that scored first would likely walk away with a win. Both Carlos Carrasco and Andrew Triggs were dealing and hits were scarce from both teams. Entering the eighth inning it was still a 0-0 game; that’s when Carlos Santana hit a solo home run just inside the foul pole to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. With eight strong innings from Carrasco, and a lights-out ninth inning from Andrew Miller, that was all the Indians needed.
This game almost had a very different outcome. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Coco Crisp doubled to right field with one out. He tried to stretch it into a triple, but was gunned down at third on a Lonnie Chisenhall-to-Jason Kipnis-to Jose Ramirez throw. It was an extremely close play, but Crisp was called out. Oakland challenged the call, and I seriously thought it was going to be overturned. At least one camera angle made it look as if Crisp’s hand had gotten to the base before the tag, however another angle made it almost look like a tie. In the end, the call was upheld and Carrasco would now face Jake Smolinski with two outs and the bases empty. Smolinski lined a single up the middle; without the close play at third Oakland would’ve jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Fortunately, this was never an issue. That was really the only inning where Carrasco faced any danger – there was the hard-hit ball from Crisp, and the hard-hit single from Smolinski…followed by a Jason Kipnis error that left runners at first and second with two out. However, Carrasco got Khris Davis to strike out to end any threat.
The Indians didn’t have much better luck against Triggs; he allowed just three hits and one walk over 6 innings, compared to Carrasco’s four hits and no walks over 8 innings. The A’s bullpen was also pretty solid, but not as sharp as Triggs – Liam Hendriks pitched a scoreless inning, but allowed 2 hits, and Ryan Madson pitched a perfect frame. Ryan Dull took the loss, after surrendering the homer to Santana; he allowed a single to Francisco Lindor later in that inning. The Tribe did at least threaten in the sixth and seventh innings – in the sixth they had runners on second and third with two outs, and in the seventh they had runners on second and third with just one out. Unfortunately in the seventh, both Tyler Naquin and Abraham Almonte struck out to end the inning.
While I almost feel bad singling anyone out (since there really wasn’t much offensive action from anyone tonight) it was yet another rough performance at the plate for Roberto Perez. I was hesitant to be too critical of him at first, since I don’t think he was fully ready to return to major league action and was hurried along by the injury to Yan Gomes. However, he’s had enough time to adjust and is still basically a black hole in the lineup. He struck out twice tonight, and went 0-for-3…dropping his average back below .100. Even though he has a somewhat more respectable OBP (.244) it’s still pretty painful to watch him at the plate. There’s really no alternative though, other than Gomes recovering and returning to the lineup (and we all know that he had his share of troubles even before the shoulder injury). Kurt Suzuki cleared waivers with the Minnesota Twins, and is hitting a fairly robust (when compared to the Indians’ current catchers) .283/.321/.428. However, he is very poor defensively – he can barely throw out base runners, and is known as being poor at pitch framing. And he seems to be the best of the options that are still out there, even with those very large faults. So unfortunately, I think we’re pretty much stuck with what we’re stuck with at this point.
Both Detroit and Kansas City had the night off, which means that the Indians gain half a game on both of those teams. They’ll hope to continue rolling against the AL West this week.